A day ahead of the official FINA deadline for entry changes, USA Swimming has unveiled its final roster for the 2019 World Championships.
While many of the biggest question-marks remain on the list (Jack Levant, Grant Shoults, and Nathan Adrian are all still entered, in spite of various medical issues), there was one big surprise change to the roster.
Recent Stanford graduate Ella Eastin has been added to the team with an entry to swim the 200 IM. Kathleen Baker, meanwhile, has dropped that race, and will swim just the 50, 100, and 200 backstroke individually at Worlds.
In April, Baker got sick, and the associated cough led to a rib fracture. This cost her a chunk of time out of the water, including skipping racing at the FINA Champions Series. She hasn’t raced since the French Golden Tour stop in mid-March, where she swam a 59.0 in the 100 back, a 2:10.6 in the 200 IM, and a 1:08.6 in the 100 breaststroke.
Baker was the 2018 World Short Course bronze medalist in the 200 IM. She was the top-ranked American in long course in 2018, with a 2:08.32 from Summer Nationals. She was a 2:11.26 in prelims at Pan Pacs, though, which ranked her 6th overall in that round and as the 3rd American (behind Eastin and Melanie Margalis). Baker wound up skipping the B final at that meet, though her time from Nationals was still good enough to carry her to an entry at Worlds.
Eastin, meanwhile, managed to qualify for Pan Pacs in spite of having been diagnosed with mononucleosis just a few weeks before Nationals. Her times ultimately qualified her for the World University Games, a second-tier international championship for Americans this summer, in the 200 IM. Eastin is in Naples with Team USA, and so will pull double duty this summer.
In the 2017-2018 long course season, Baker ranked 2nd in the world in the 200 IM behind Japan’s Yui Ohashi, while Easstin ranked 9th. Among Americans, Baker was #1, followed by Melanie Margalis (who will swim the race at Worlds), Madisyn Cox (whose 2:09.82 season best was done at a Pro Swim Series meet in March), and Eastin (season best – 2:09.90).